Dinakaran opts out of Oz trip

Ktaka CJ case: Eminent lawyers meet law minister

Dinakaran opts out of Oz trip


P D Dinakaran

“Justice Dinakaran has himself opted out of the trip to Australia,” the chief justice of India told newsmen here on Saturday. In a letter to the CJI , Justice Dinakaran  said he would like to “recuse himself” from the trip due to the recent controversy.

The chief justice of India  will  lead a delegation comprising many Supreme Court, high court and district court judges to Australia on a “study tour,” beginning Monday.

Justice Dinakaran’s decision comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court collegium’s meeting on Friday where his elevation to the apex court was discussed taking into account the representations by eminent legal luminaries, various advocate associations and a legal watchdog body about his alleged possession of vast tracts of land in contravention of the land ceiling acts.

Eminent jurists Fali S Nariman, Shanti Bhushan, Ashok Desai, Ram Jethmalani and Anil Diwan have suggested to the chief justice of India to reconsider the decision of the collegium to elevate Justice Dinakaran to the Supreme Court.

The Advocates' Association of Bangalore, too, has held a meeting in the wake of these allegations and urged him not to preside over the High Court proceedings till he is cleared of the allegations.

On Friday, a delegation of eminent lawyers met Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily and suggested to him to initiate a probe into the allegations by the Karnataka Lokayukta (anti-corruption watchdog) and retired Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde. Bhushan, Diwan and Kamini Jaiswal said the “other alternative”  would  be to ask in writing from Supreme Court judges Markanday Katju and A K Ganguli about Justice Dinkaran's integrity as the two had been chief justices of the Madras High Court. Justice Dinkaran had worked under Justices Katju and Ganguli.

Diwan said Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde (a former Supreme Court judge) has all the “machinery in place to probe the integrity and reputation of Chief Justice Dinakaran. He is a judge of repute and can carry out the probe. That is one way things can be looked up.” Diwan said since the public was aware of the issue, a probe by a person of integrity would be appropriate. And Justice Dinkaran should be given “proper opportunity.  If the reputation of the Supreme Court or the High Court goes down, it reflects on the lawyers practising there.”

However, Moily said since it was a matter of judicial appointment, he would not like offer a comment.

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